Socio-economic analysis of edible insect species collectors and vendors in Nagaland, North-East India
In Nagaland insects like the Eri silkworm Samia cynthia ricini and the Indian honey bee Apis cerana indica are reared for commercial purposes rather than just household uses. Of the marketed edible insects in India, Hymenoptera contribute 34% followed by Orthoptera (25%), Coleoptera (16%), Hemiptera (12%), and Lepidoptera (9%) while Odonata and Blattodea contribute 2% each. The present study estimates that an insect seller may earn Rs. 600-800 (US $7.51-10.01) per kg from various types of insects such as grasshoppers, crickets, katydid, water and diving beetles, ants, stink bugs and tent caterpillars. For 1 litre of honey an insect seller may earn Rs. 532-1600 (US $6.66-20.02) and for 1 kg of wood larvae (largely beetle larvae), carpenter “worms” (= Cossus spp. moth larvae) and hornets the vendor can demand Rs. 3,300-3,750 (US $41.29-56.31). The contribution of the edible insect sector towards the socio-economy and livelihood improvement of the people in both rural and urban communities is highlighted and discussed. Given the insect bio-resource in the region, the consumption of edible insects, coupled with mass production, processing, and marketing (as successfully implemented in countries like Thailand, Vietnam, and some African countries like Cameroon and Nigeria), can be a boon to Nagaland.